All through the year, the Western Folklife Center is an exhibition destination in Elko, Nevada. From the Wiegand Gallery and its inspiring space featuring interactive exhibitions and multimedia presentations to educate and entertain and throughout the building at 501 Railroad Street until you reach the lower level, exhibits can be seen on almost every wall.
The Western Folklife Center Wiegand Gallery, designed by Prescott Muir Architects of Salt Lake City, Utah, often combines a major exhibition with a showcase of the handcrafted work of master artisans throughout the West as represented in the Western Folklife Center’s permanent Collection of Contemporary Gear – read more about the Collection and its genesis in Back at the Ranch, an online exhibition. And during the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, there are special demonstrations in addition to the current exhibition!
Also in the Gallery is found the Story Corps booth where you can record a conversation with a friend or beloved family member, and the Black Box Theater showing a 16-minute adaptation from our award-winning video production, Why The Cowboy Sings, exploring the inspiration behind the music and poetry accompanying ranch life.
The Pioneer Saloon’s Fireplace Nook is an ideal spot for small exhibitions and has featured such artists as Walter Piehl Jr., Tom Russell, Cal Bracken, Carlos César Díaz Castro, Sean Sexton, Glenn Ohrlin, Bill Lowman and Beth Carpel, among others.
And, of course, the wall of National Cowboy Poetry Gathering posters on the Pioneer Saloon wall opposite the historic 40-foot 1890 Brunswick back bar (constructed of mahogany and cherry wood inlaid with mother-of-pearl), exhibits the wide array of avenues of poetry and storytelling from horse and herding cultures throughout the United States and the world that the Gathering has explored through our 33 years!
Our lower level features L.L. Griffin’s Something That a Cowboy Knows, a photographic essay of silver gelatin prints, donated by L.L. Griffin to the Western Folklife Center after the exhibition’s opening at the Arvada Center and the Colorado Historical Society, and subsequent tour through the West. Below are featured Duley Canterburry & Ken Lee (left) and Alejandro Solis, Sr. (right).
Expanding our exhibition tour outside, the Western Folklife Center was pleased to work with photographers Deon and Trish Reynolds to present "WestStops," a walk-by exhibition with photo murals on Western Folklife Center exterior walls (and others in downtown Elko) as a part of our creative placemaking efforts. Intended as a temporary exhibition, the process to attach the murals is based on an organic paste base. See them now in the 5th Street alley between the Western Folklife Center and the Stray Dog Saloon.
And, although only available for a short time each year, there are the special National Cowboy Poetry Gathering “galleries” of Elko County grade school mixed media art and high school photography that always showcase a wide range of creative expression in student art, on exhibit from January through April.
Coming in mid-June 2017, the Wiegand Gallery will host two amazing exhibits:
Dennis Parks: Land, Language and Clay, featuring the work of internationally-known ceramist Dennis Parks and son Ben Parks, both based in Tuscarora, Nevada. The exhibition is organized by the Nevada Museum of Art. Visitors will see pieces from the Parks’ private collections and items drawn from the Dennis Parks Archive Collection housed by the Center for Art + Environment at the Nevada Museum of Art.
Way Out West: Images of the American Ranch, Photographs From the Farm Security Administration, 1936-1943, a rich and personal record of ranch life of the period. Photographs in this exhibition are selections from a book of the same name by former Western Folklife Center Executive Director Charlie Seemann.